How hazardous it is to write about someone you love. In ‘Timeless,’ I was determined to create an honest picture of Bob Morgenthau, but I also had an interest in keeping our marriage intact. Therefore, I insisted he read every draft of my memoir, even though I had kept journals of our 38 years together.
But Bob is the ultimate gentleman of discretion. He’ll rarely show an emotion or give a strong opinion on entirely human interactions.
Thus I would hang around while he pored over the manuscript to see if I could gauge his reaction. Sometimes I’d hear a ‘’humph’ and quickly ask him what the ‘humph’ meant. If he shrugged “It’s your memory” I knew I was in trouble.
“What don’t you like about that passage?” I’d ask though I didn’t expect him to tell me. It was my job to tell him. “Is it the facts? No response. “Is it the language? Nothing. “Is it the tone?”
I would have to watch closely for the twitch of a facial muscle or a slightly downturned lip to find out the answer. Then, when I caught it, I’d make several suggestions as to what it was he didn’t like, until I finally hit the jackpot. This was indicated by a deep breath of frustration or perhaps a right out scowl.
Now I wasn’t brooking any censorship but I did occasionally negotiate the wording on a page. Or if it was a factual quibble and I knew I was right, I’d whip out the journal and let him read the proof.
What was slightly hilarious and rather troubling were the entertaining incidents and adventures recorded in my journals that neither of us had any recollection of.
Bob once explained his reticence about the manuscript: “I don’t want to interfere or stymy your creative process.”
This was immensely kind and noble of him, though I have to state that the process of ‘manuscript minding’ was nearly as hard as writing the book.